Cooling Efficiency Tests
Well, here are the obtained results from our cooling efficiency tests:
First of all, let’s discuss the GPU temperatures. As we see, Thermalright Shaman efficiency at maximum rotation speed of its default 140 mm fan is comparable to the cooling efficiency of Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5870 cooler at maximum speed of its three 92 mm default fans. I have to say that the GPU temperatures of our overclocked graphics card under this type of load are extremely low for a graphics product like that. At lower fan speeds Shaman is slightly ahead of its strong competitor, but overall, we can conclude that these two cooling products offer equal cooling efficiency and are much better than the reference cooler of our Radeon HD 5830. If we compare the results taken off Thermalright Shaman with two different fans (TY-140 and Slip Stream 120 mm Slim), at the same level of noise, which we are going to discuss below, the cooling efficiency drops by about 4°C, which is absolutely insignificant at these temperatures. However, it is important to remember that TY-140 fan was working right next to the sound card, which did block some of its airflow. On the other hand, there was no obstruction in the way of the airflow coming from Slip Stream 120 mm Slim, which gave it some advantage in this race.
The temperatures of the hottest VRM components on the graphics card are also pretty interesting to discuss (marked as “VRM max.” on the diagram). As we have already pointed out, one side of the 140 mm Thermalright Shaman fan is hanging over one of the heatsinks on the VRM components. As we know, fan airflow and air pressure are the highest in zone. As a result, we can notice very strong dependency of the VRM cooling efficiency on the rotation speed of our TY-140 fan. Even if we slow down the fan just a little, the temperature will increase substantially. For example, at maximum speed of 1330 RPM Shaman is the leader showing the best temperature of this functional knot, leaving even the reference Radeon HD 5830 cooler behind. In acoustically comfortable mode (at 1010 RPM) and in quiet mode (at 800 RPM) it falls in the middle, while at the minimal speed of 610 RPM it is the least efficient of all testing participants. Of course, we can’t disregard the efficiency of the aluminum heatsink on the VRM part, because had we installed a Thermalright VRM heatsink over there, they results would have been completely different.
The noise measurements taken on the reference ATI Radeon HD 5830 cooler, Thermalright Shaman (with two different fans) and Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5870 are given on the diagram below:
If we leave the reference Radeon HD 5830 cooler aside for a minute, we can conclude that Thermalright Shaman cooler is obviously not the quietest product tested today. Nevertheless, it remains acoustically comfortable up to 950 RPM and very quiet up to 800 RPM (at 33 dBA). Even at maximum rotation speed Thermalright Shaman is still quieter than Accelero XTREME 5870, which is another advantage of the newcomer. As for the noise comparison between the two different fans on the Shaman cooler, Slip Stream 120 mm Slim at 1200 RPM generates as much noise as TY-140 at 950 RPM and at 1550 RPM – as much noise as the default fan of the Thermalright Shaman. As for the advantage the two alternative cooling products have over the reference Radeon HD 5830 cooler, there is nothing to say really – everything is on the diagram.
As a result, things do not look so good for Thermalright Shaman. If we compare it against the primary competitor – Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME 5870, then Shaman will be just a little bit more effective, but at the same time it costs $7 more (it is simply quite expensive to begin with), is noisier, blocks one PCI-slot more and may prevent the side panel from closing in some system cases. Moreover, Shaman doesn’t have a solid heatsink for the VRM components with screw-on retention, like the one from Arctic Cooling. We could claim that the Accelero XTREME one is not universal after all, but we all know very well that Arctic Cooling already released an Accelero XTREME Plus model compatible with Nvidia based graphics accelerators besides Radeon HD 5870 and 5830.
At the same time, we can’t help mentioning that Shaman from Thermalright tames the firing flames perfectly well, cooling even overclocked graphics cards with super-high heat dissipation without much effort and noise. The cooler is universal and we will definitely check it out on GeForce GTX 4xx graphics cards. So, we are not yet finished with Shaman. Also I would like to point out that its installation is very easy and doesn’t require any special tools. Therefore, summing up all the cons and pros of this cooler we can grade it with a good “C” and wish Thermalright to continuously improve their extremely interesting products.